01 February 2012

Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you

You might not get it from the title, but this is still about the german language. It is still the strangest thing I've been experiencing here, and thus the most fascinating. Like we say in Portugal, to speak German you just have to put a hot potato in your mouth. Yeah, you can do that and sound like a German, but German people won't be able to understand you. Duh...

So why am I quoting Jedi Master Yoda? Because, even though the legends tell he was born in an unknown but distant home planet, I truly believe that Master Yoda was german. Yes, this is the planet, this is the country where Yoda learned to speak. Because if there's people that can turn an entire sentence upside down (or right side left, in this case), it's the Germans. They switch everything: the subject and the verb, the subject and the object, the object with its pronoun... They even switch units and tens when telling numbers, but then they tell hundreds and thousands in the correct order (I mean... just... why???).

If you still don't know what I'm saying, I'll make a little exercise: I'll try to tell you one of my stories here in English, but with the word order of German sentences. OK, here it is:

So, when I my apartment contract got, told they me that I in my town's Burgeramt register had to. I warned was that probably no one English spoke in there, so asked I one of my German-speaking colleagues, to with me on the next Saturday go. However, when he found out was the place only in the morning open on Saturdays, convinced he me to to a week day postpone it, saying that on Saturday mornings he sleep had to.

Saturday morning came up, and I found myself suddenly on number three and twenty of Schulgasse, the Burgeramt's place. I figured I could my luck try and went in. When I my favorite German words told to the person at the front desk, Sprechen Sie Englisch, replied she Nein, and I was a bit disappointed. But then looked at she my papers and asked Anmelden? And I knew that meant "registration", so replied I Ja. She pointed at some stairs and said some incomprehensible things. I didn't bother asking what she meant, just left her and went towards the stairs.

When I the stairs climbed up, found I nothing. No offices, no desks, no people. At that point gave I up, I wasn't be able going to get my registration on that day, I'd later back come with someone else.

In the next Saturday came I later back with another colleague of mine. He was German so knew I I would make it this time. He talked to the lady at the front desk, said she some stuff again, and we left her.

We were towards the stairs heading again when my colleague suddenly stopped and sat on a sofa that on the way was. He was the only one who what to do knew, so sat I on the sofa as well. But I wasn't getting it at first, weren't we supposed to somewhere else go? And that's when it me hit: the lady wanted me to sit and wait, that's why she at the sofa - not the stairs! - pointed the first time.

(versão portuguesa)

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